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Practical Guide to the Open Brand
Copyright © 2002 The Open Group

Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers


Errors or ambiguities may be discovered in the specifications or formal standards referred to in Product Standards.

Acknowledgement by The Open Group of such errors or ambiguities results in Interpretations (see and Corrigenda (see The Interpretations Index is available at

Errors may also be found in the test suites referenced in Product Standards. Acknowledgement by The Open Group of such errors results in Test Suite Deficiencies (TSDs), which are reported at Test Suite Deficiencies will usually be fixed in subsequent releases of the test suite affected.

From time to time, and in any event not less frequently than three months, The Open Group updates the lists of Interpretations and Test Suite Deficiencies which may be cited in support of Product Certifications.

Errors may also be discovered in the implementation of the product being certified. Under certain conditions, The Open Group may grant Temporary Waivers where the impact on users is deemed to be minor. This allows Product Certification to proceed.

Figure: Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers

The relationship between Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers is shown in Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers. In most cases the first indication of a problem arises when there is a discrepancy in the test report when running the test suite against a product. The applicant is advised to check the published list of Interpretations and Test Suite Deficiencies before proceeding. The problem is reported to The Open Group, where the outcome is determined.


Other than in exceptional circumstances, interpretations of specifications will never result in product behavior that was previously considered to be conformant being declared non-conformant. Interpretations may only result in product behavior that was previously considered to be non-conformant being declared to be conformant. Permanent Interpretations refer to the specifications or standards, not to products. Any Product Certification application may refer to Permanent Interpretations to resolve discrepancies in test reports or to support the application in any other way, irrespective of the origin of the Interpretation request.

The Open Group issues Corrigenda where there are material errors in the referenced specifications. Interpretations relating to the specifications and published Corrigenda overlap, although the former is specifically related to Product Certification. At the time of Product Certification or at renewal, vendors should check for the presence of Corrigenda to specifications. Corrigenda are published alongside the publication details at

In areas of the specifications that either replicate or reference other standards, Interpretations of specifications are in effect Interpretations of the other standards. In these areas, the relevant standards organization will be contacted and involved, but to avoid unnecessary delay and inconvenience to the applicant, The Open Group at its sole discretion may issue a Temporary Interpretation.

The Open Group will submit a request for an Interpretation of the underlying standard to the standards body involved, and will include the rationale by which The Open Group decided to grant the Temporary Interpretation. The Open Group will deal likewise in handling Interpretations relating to specifications from other organizations referenced in Product Standards. Temporary Interpretations remain in force until the standards or controlling body delivers an Interpretation.

If the standards or controlling body delivers an Interpretation that is in line with a Temporary Interpretation, then the Temporary Interpretation will be converted to a Permanent Interpretation. If the standards body delivers an Interpretation that is in conflict with a Temporary Interpretation, then the Temporary Interpretation will be withdrawn and a Temporary Waiver issued with a normal 12-month lifetime (see Temporary Waivers).

Test Suite Deficiencies

The Open Group at its sole discretion may, on application from a licensee, agree that a test suite has an identified deficiency, provided that the evidence supporting the request substantiates the claim.

Test laboratories will be required to continue to use the suspect portion of the test suite in all circumstances, but, when a failure is reported, will be able to determine the applicability of the Test Suite Deficiency to the case in hand. This means that the suspect portion of the test suite is effectively withdrawn only in those circumstances where it falsely reports failure.

Test Suite Deficiencies will be permanent against the particular version of the test suite to which they apply, and will automatically give rise to test suite bug reports. Bugs will normally be fixed within the test suite maintenance cycle.

Temporary Waivers

Where there are a limited number of implementation errors and these are demonstrated to be of a minor nature, with negligible impact on interoperability or portability, The Open Group at its sole discretion may issue Temporary Waivers which allow Product Certification to proceed.

Temporary Waivers are valid for 12 months, after which time the errors must have been eliminated from the Certified Product for which the Temporary Waiver has been granted. Since Temporary Waivers are granted only at the discretion of The Open Group, an applicant does not know in advance whether or not a Temporary Waiver will be granted in any particular instance. Applicants are therefore warned not to rely on being able to certify a product as long as there is a Temporary Waiver application pending for that product.

In order to minimize the variation in acceptance and rejection criteria, The Open Group will, at the request of an applicant following a refusal of a Temporary Waiver request, allow for Anonymous Review by an expert group. Where The Open Group has already sought the advice of an expert group during initial analysis, the applicant will be notified accordingly.

Suppliers of Certified Products must make details of Temporary Waivers available. The requirement to make public the technical details of a Temporary Waiver may influence the wording used when completing the Temporary Waiver request. The Conformance Statement will identify whether there are any Temporary Waivers against the product.

At annual renewal of the Product Certification, The Open Group requires the licensee to supply proof that the error condition covered by any expired Temporary Waivers has been cleared. A licensee must correct errors and make available a maintenance release incorporating the necessary corrections within the 12-month period, and must ensure that all subsequent shipments of the product under the Open Brand incorporate the corrections.

All requests for Temporary Waivers will be dealt with on their individual merits. Not more than one Temporary Waiver will be issued to a vendor for an identical failure. Other vendors with identical failures to published Temporary Waivers may also be granted Temporary Waivers, but they are valid for the same period as the first published Temporary Waiver. Once expired, Temporary Waivers are not granted again.

Requests for Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers

Details of the methods of submitting requests for Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers can be found at together with an on-line copy of the procedure to be used.

The Open Group will use reasonable efforts to respond promptly to each request for Temporary Waivers or Interpretations, regardless of whether the request is or is not to be granted. Requests will normally be processed within 20 working days of receipt. If the applicant is not satisfied with the result, Anonymous Review and Formal Appeals processes are available.

In processing an Interpretation or Temporary Waiver request, The Open Group is likely to refer the issue to an expert group (normally the group that developed or maintains the specification) for Anonymous Review. Note that the review process requires that requests be filtered prior to distribution to the appropriate review group. The filter is automatic and will remove the product and applicant sections of the form. If company or product names are placed in the sections reserved for the technical descriptions, filtering will not result in anonymity.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for Interpretations and Temporary Waivers well in advance of Product Certification. Applying in advance means that the technical process of evaluation is decoupled from the administrative process of Product Certification.

With respect to the list of Interpretations that The Open Group maintains, and to the Temporary Waivers that a licensee of the Open Brand is required to make available under the terms of the Trademark License Agreement, the fact that the technical details will be made available to prospective customers may influence the choice of wording when making requests.

When a request is processed, The Open Group will inform the applicant by electronic mail of the decision quoting the reference number supplied by the applicant at the time of submission.

If an applicant wishes to dispute the refusal by The Open Group to grant a request, they may ask for an Anonymous Review by an appropriate expert group (normally the group or standards body that developed the specification). If this takes place, the application will automatically have details of applicant and product removed before being passed to the expert group for comment.

The applicant may, alternatively or subsequently, invoke a Formal Appeal. Both the Anonymous Review and the Formal Appeal processes are defined in the Trademark License Agreement. Note that if an expert group has already reviewed the request, a second review is unlikely to produce a different result.

The Formal Process

The process of assessing requests for Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers is as follows:

  1. Request is made to The Open Group.

  2. Request is routed to a technical expert for assessment.

  3. Expert's response is returned to The Open Group.

  4. The Open Group decides to grant or refuse the request.

  5. Where The Open Group considers the request could be controversial, it initiates a full Anonymous Review process and informs the applicant.

  6. The applicant may request Anonymous Review or Formal Appeal.

  7. An Anonymous Review requires 14 working days for completion during which the Product Certification application is suspended and the applicant notified of the delay.

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